Who do you think deserves a community food award?

It’s time to get your nominations in for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Community Food Awards, writes KATE RYAN, of Flavour.ie. Previous winners include Cork Penny Dinners
Who do you think deserves a community food award?

FoodCloud co-founders Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien. Picture Naoise Culhane

NOMINATIONS are now open for the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Community Food Award 2022. Each year this award is given to an individual, business, or other organisation involved in food that, in the opinion of the Guild, is outstanding in the way that it embraces an ethos of social responsibility.

For example, the award might go to a community kitchen or garden, to a food education project or to a food business that donates a portion of its profits back to the community. It could go to an ethical food entrepreneur, a chef, or a retail business. It could go to a large-scale national project, or a small project based in one community. The important considerations are that the project is well managed and transparent and that it has a positive relationship with the community in which it operates.

Previous winners include Green-Schools Food and Biodiversity Theme, Falling Fruit Ireland, Cork Penny Dinners, Sligo Global Kitchen, Irish Seed Savers and Bia Food Initiative. See here for profiles of these and all previous winners.

Unlike the Guild’s annual Food Awards, which are only nominated by Guild members, individuals, businesses and organisations can nominate themselves or others for this award. Since 2018, the Community Food Award has been presented as part of the Guild’s Annual Food Awards event.

How to Enter

The Guild will be accepting nominations for this award up to and including Tuesday, November 26, 2021. 

To submit a nomination, complete your answers to the questions below and email to the Guild secretary, Kate Ryan, at kate@flavour.ie. There is no entry fee.

  • Name of Proposer (your name), your email address and phone number.
  • Name of the individual, project, business, or organisation that you are nominating.
  • Contact name for the project, business, or organisation that you are nominating.
  • Address of the project, business, or organisation.
  • Website of the project, business, or organisation.
  • Email address for the individual, project, business, or organisation.
  • Describe the project, initiative, or business. What is the idea behind it? (max. 50 words) What impact does this project, initiative or business have in terms of social responsibility? (max. 50 words)
  • How long has it been running for? If it is a project, please specify the timeframe (max. 20 words).
  • Why is this individual/project/organisation the most deserving recipient of the IFWG Community Food Award? (max. 50 words)

The Guild will vote on nominations in November and the award will be announced in March 2022.

Here are some of the previous winners

2021 Winner: The Green-Schools Food & Biodiversity Theme

Devised to teach children about food in an engaging and creative way, the programme was successfully piloted in eight primary schools and is now being expanded nationwide, with 45 schools joining this year and a further 65 joining next year.

The programme is wide-ranging, taking an expansive, hands-on approach to education, fostering inquisitiveness about where food comes from, how it is grown and how it affects all our lives. 

Green-Schools provide cooking kits to all the participating schools as well as the seeds for the garden, teaching resources and ongoing support from their staff. The cooking kit provides children with the equipment to practise skills during the cooking workshops such as peeling, grating, knife safety and different chopping techniques. Many chefs from around the country have also come on board.

Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners. Picture Dan Linehan
Caitriona Twomey of Cork Penny Dinners. Picture Dan Linehan

2020 Winner: Falling Fruit Ireland

Falling Fruit Ireland was established to harvest the seasonal glut of local fruit found throughout the Dublin area and countrywide.

2019 Winner: Cork Penny Dinners

Cork Penny Dinners was founded during famine times in the 1840s and is one of Cork’s oldest charitable organisations. Their core service is to offer a nourishing hot meal in a safe environment to all those in need. Currently they serve up to 2,000 freshly made meals per week compared to 150 or less per week before the recession.

They also provide food for homeless families in hotels and B&Bs.

Cork Penny Dinners is open seven days a week all year round, including Christmas Day, and there is always an open door and a warm welcome.

2018 Winner: Sligo Global Kitchen

Sligo Global Kitchen began in 2014 as a simple idea conceived by the team at The Model in Sligo: that people living locally in direct provision might appreciate the use of the arts centre’s industrial kitchen to cook and eat together, given that residents cannot cook their own food in direct provision.

Artist Anna Spearman approached Cameroonian Mabel Chah to liaise with other residents in direct provision. With funding from the Community Foundation of Ireland and Communities Integration Fund, they reached out to other groups of refugees, collaborating with the Syrian community in Ballaghaderreen for a meal celebrating Syrian, Zimbabwean and Nigerian cuisine. 

Over 400 people of at least 18 different nationalities attended that meal, 75 of them Syrian, including five Syrian cooks.

Sligo Global Kitchen now runs communal meals at least once a month.

2016 Winner: Irish Seed Savers Association

The ethos of the Irish Seed Savers Association is simple but sound: working together to conserve Irish biodiversity. Founded in 1991 by Anita Hayes, work initially started on a small farm in Co. Carlow before moving to Scarriff in 1996. 

The aim of the Irish Seed Savers Association is to conserve and distribute wonderful, rare and heritage varieties, as well as to encourage the skills of saving your own seed and empowering people to do this in their own gardens, small holdings or farms.

The Association’s Education Project was submitted for an IFWG Community Food Award; it aims to promote a greater awareness of agricultural biodiversity for children. 

The Education Project was created with the support of the Genetic Advisory Board of the Department of Agriculture and is a positive response to the new Social, Environmental and Scientific Education syllabus recently introduced to national schools. Children visiting the Association’s centre and participating in the Education Project are made aware of the importance of agricultural diversity, creating a more responsible upcoming generation who have the knowledge and skills to engage with and promote responsible practices.

Wording on the back of a FoodCloud Hubs van. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Wording on the back of a FoodCloud Hubs van. Picture: Denis Minihane.

2015 Winner: Bia Food Initiative (now known as FoodCloud Hubs)

Bia Food Initiative (BiaFi) was set up in June 2012, with the Food Redistribution Centre opening in July 2014. BiaFi acts and raises awareness on the issue of surplus food as food waste and aims to alleviate food poverty in Ireland.

It is a hugely ambitious nationwide initiative with a large distribution centre with refrigerated storage on an industrial estate in Little Island, Cork, and has already linked with most of the major multiples.

They recently acquired and are opening distribution warehouses in Oranmore, Co. Galway, and in Tallaght. BiaFi facilitates the transfer of surplus food from food-related businesses to charities.

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